Eagle-eyed followers of Vindaloo Queen on Twitter and my Facebook friends will have noticed that I am visiting Canada! I'm just outside Toronto in a city called Mississauga- it may not be on the tourist trail, but they have some fabulous multicultural treats readily available here including the rare (in the UK) Bubble Tea. This time last year, I was braving the intense heat and desert sandstorms of Dubai and was feeling strangely nostalgic. What better way to indulge nostalgia than eating food that stirs up memories? Thankfully, I was pleased to discover that Middle Eastern food is popular in this neck of the woods; time to track down tabouleh and feast on falafel!
Villa Madina is a chain not dissimilar to Dubai's Karam Beirut- a food-court based setup offering meal deals, platters and an extensive choice in salads. They serve familiar Lebanese staples like Shish Taouk, Falafel and Tabbouleh that are ubiquitous in Dubai so it was a format I was used to. I opted for their vegetarian platter at approx $7 which included either falafel or vine leaves plus as much delicious salad and dip you could cram on! I chose Tabouleh, hummus, spicy potatoes, Greek salad, olives, okra stew (bamia)and that beautiful illuminous pink turnip that brightens up every Middle Eastern feast. My only bugbear was that bread was charged extra, something that all Middle Eastern countries offer for free with the meal.
The potatoes were as good as, if not better, to some of the similar ones I experienced in Dubai- roasted without being greasy, a hint of spice similar to Spanish Patatas Bravas. The Tabbouleh and the other salads came in generous portions and I had no complaints, other than the price/portion ratio was not as bargainous as Dubai. The Carnivore ate Shish Taouk with a similar verdict to me- tasty by all means, but a tad pricey for the food court setting.